An insurance company is suing a man who drove his million-dollar car into a lagoon in Texas two years ago.
Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Company says exotic car dealer Andy House deliberately drove his $US1.2 million ($1.17 million) Bugatti Veyron EB into the water to claim on the insurance - about "twice the value of the vehicle".
Unbeknown to Mr House, he was being filmed at the time and the amateur video captures the moment the car veers towards the lagoon.
"The Bugatti Veyron is one of the world's fastest and most expensive supercars and extremely rare," Philadelphia Indemnity says.
Admiration for the rare car prompted Joe Garza to film Mr House on his iPhone. That footage has gone viral on YouTube, and it is also part of the insurance company's evidence in a complaint filed in the US Federal Court.
Mr House claims he dropped his mobile phone in the car and he had reached down to pick it up.
When he looked up, he noticed something large - possibly a pelican - coming towards him and he swerved off the road to avoid it. The car hit some boulders before it was submerged in the salt water.
"Mr House left the vehicle running for over 15 minutes while it was submerged until it died on its own, causing unnecessary damage to the vehicle's engine," Philadelphia Indemnity says.
Mr House said he had left the car running because he was being bitten by mosquitoes."No obvious motions to correct the course of the vehicle could be seen and it does not appear that Mr House ever used the brakes to stop the vehicle before entering the water," the insurance company claims."Additionally, the video does not appear to confirm that a pelican was in Mr House's immediate field of vision."Mr Garza confirmed this information when he testified that he did not see a pelican (or other bird) in the area."He also testified that he did not see Mr House drop [his mobile] phone and Mr House did not appear distracted at the time of the crash."Philadelphia Indemnity says evidence had indicated that no skid marks were found at the scene of the incident."Additionally, reports from witnesses at the scene stated that Mr House did not appear overly upset at the loss of the vehicle," the company says."A confidential informant came forward and reported additional facts indicating fraud in the matter."The informant said Mr House had offered to pay him to steal the car and burn it, "making the disappearance of the vehicle appear to be a theft so that Mr House could obtain the insurance money".Mr House denies the allegations and has countersued the insurer, saying the company failed to pay as promised.
'The West Australian' is a trademark of West Australian Newspapers Limited 2013.
All rights reserved.
Select your state to see news for your area.